A highly sensitive and selective diagnostic assay based on virus nanoparticles

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University, Anam-Dong 5-1, Seongbuk-Gu, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea.
Nature Nanotechnology (Impact Factor: 31.17). 03/2009; 4(4):259-264. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.38

ABSTRACT Early detection of the protein marker troponin I in patients with a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction1, 2, 3, 4, 5 can reduce the risk of death from heart attacks6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Most troponin assays are currently based on the conventional enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and have detection limits in the nano- and picomolar range11. Here, we show that by combining viral nanoparticles, which are engineered to have dual affinity for troponin antibodies and nickel, with three-dimensional nanostructures including nickel nanohairs, we can detect troponin levels in human serum samples that are six to seven orders of magnitude lower than those detectable using conventional enzyme linked immunosorbent assays11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. The viral nanoparticle helps to orient the antibodies for maximum capture of the troponin markers. High densities of antibodies on the surfaces of the nanoparticles and nanohairs lead to greater binding of the troponin markers, which significantly enhances detection sensitivities. The nickel nanohairs are re-useable and can reproducibly differentiate healthy serum from unhealthy ones. We expect other viral nanoparticles to form similar highly sensitive diagnostic assays for a variety of other protein markers.

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